At the conclusion of an excellent article on the recent Packers’ victory in the Super Bowl, Sports Illustrated writer Tim Layden stated, “But if there is a larger lesson here, in this room littered with tape and confetti, smelling of sweat and still ringing with the noise of victory, it is this: Nobody does it alone” (Sports Illustrated, February 14, 2011). Without a doubt, the Green Bay win was the result of a genuine team effort. I also believe that the same can be said of the victories we achieve in our spiritual lives. Nobody does it alone. We need one another. We need a local church. The author of Hebrews exhorted all believers not to forsake assembling together (10:25). In other words, Christians are to be gathering with other followers on a regular basis. Do you recall the reason why? Allow me to quote the context:
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (10:23-25; NASB, Updated).
Friends–does that sound like a legalistic reason for attending church? Not at all! Why should believers regularly gather with other believers? So that we can stimulate others to love and good deeds! So that we can encourage others in their walk with Christ! So much for the “What’s in it for me?” concept of attending church! We don’t go to get; we go to give! I hope you were able to attend church recently. We went this morning. We went to give, but I can also report that we received! We were encouraged! I am not afraid to admit that I cannot do this on my own. I need the stimulation! I need my brothers and sisters in the Lord to nudge me closer to Christ by their example and by their words. I particularly need that as I “see the day drawing near” (10:25). The day that the author is mentioning is the return of Christ. Before that glorious day, however, the world will increasingly become hostile toward the followers of Jesus Christ. We studied that concept this morning in our Sunday School class (John 15:18-16:4). In light of that day, in preparation for the persecution I will one day face even in America, I need to grow in my faith. Friends, I do not want to stumble (Jn. 16:1) when opposed by the world, nor do I want you to stumble. Stay in fellowship! Remain active in a local church. Remember–Nobody does it alone.